Former Reading striker Jason Roberts admitted that his career-ending injury “leaves a stain” on his 19-year playing days.

44-year-old Roberts played for the Royals between 2012-2014 and was a crucial member of the 2011/12 Championship-winning side.

Unfortunately, he made just 29 appearances in 18-months contracted with the club due to a persistent hip injury which forced him to hang up his boots prematurely.

Speaking exclusively to the Reading Chronicle ahead of his return to RG2 for this weekend’s legends game, Roberts described the frustration of being unable to end his career on his terms.


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“When you get to a certain age,” he started. “You start to realise that Father Time is unbeatable. At some time, it is going to end so you need to root yourself in that moment. We had such a good thing going that you just wanted to defend it, and I wanted to defend it in the Premier League. It was unfortunate that injury prevented me from doing that.

“You make peace with it in the end. Not everyone gets to write the end of their story. I came from non-league; I would’ve played for as long as my legs would carry me.

Not only was it the matter of picking up the injury, but it was also the nature of the injury which frustrated the former Grenada international more so.

He continued: “I wish it had ended in a different way- I wish it was an injury so bad that you knew in that moment you would never play again. The problem with my injury is that it kept dangling you along. By the time I retired there was no way I could ever play again, I did everything in my power to be able to play again.

“It leaves a stain because the way my injury transpired, people questioned whether the motivation was there- forget just the club, the motivation was there for me! I wanted to play for as long as I could, my kids can't remember me playing- I would’ve loved for my kids to be involved in my career in some way. I can’t complain, I had a great run, but I definitely would’ve ended it differently.”

Now the Head of Football Development for the CONCACAF region, the former Blackburn Rovers and Bristol Rovers frontman is awaiting a double-hip operation due to the injuries sustained over his career.


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However, that won’t stop him making an appearance at this weekend’s star-studded celebration match, drawing the club’s 150th anniversary celebrations to a close.

“I didn’t want to let the team down,” he started. “It’s a real honour for me. I felt like I couldn’t not be there. The Coppell team as well, I fee l like I’m part of their story with the season before at Wigan so I couldn’t miss it.

“Wherever I’m needed, I’m looking forward to gracing the pitch- but don’t expect any 60-yard runs.